I think about the role of “anxiety” in our lives as stutterers. It has a powerful way to describe our feelings or attitudes towards my stuttering. Most people tell you that they experience “anxiety” during the stuttering experience. What does anxiety actually look like, and does stuttering factor into the equation, if it actually does factor in? What is anxiety?
Anxiety thoughts are often clumped with depressive thoughts. Depressive thoughts are often characterized by feeling a gray cloud circling above you, or an invisible cloak that holds you down from moving. It’s the “I can’t get out of bed” or the “Everything’s bad” feelings.
Anxiety thoughts are like a danger or threat response system. They create physical feelings that prepare us for respond to the danger or threat we expect. It’s the feeling of always being on “high alert” or “I can’t breathe.”
The response is evident in the physical symptoms of anxiety to prepare us to “perception of threat varies from person to person based on previous data and how threat shaped formation of core beliefs.” “Mind over Mood”, Padesky & Greenberg 1995s
Examples of Anxiety Thoughts
- Underestimation of your ability to cope
- Underestimation of help available
- Worries and catastrophic thoughts
- Underestimation of resources
- Inability to cope
Examples of Anxiety Behaviors
- Avoiding situations where anxiety might occur
- Leaving situations when anxiety begins to occur
- Trying to do things perfectly or trying to control events to prevent danger
- Moods: Nervous, Irritable, Anxious, Panicky
I like to think of anxiety like a blinking light saying something’s happening, check it out. Just like there is no right or wrong way to stutter, or to listen to a stutterer, there are multiple ways to view and deal with anxiety e.g., Anxiety Management. Anxiety Management allows people to work on emotion regulation, increasing self-esteem, and increasing the ability to tolerate distress. Here are few examples of Anxiety Reductions Options:
- Resourcing: naming and using positive things in your life to connect to calming sensations inside and bring yourself back to your Resilient Zone.
- Grounding: strategies to detach from emotional pain, (i.e. racing and thoughts, negative talk . . .) by focusing outward on the external world, rather than inward toward the self.
For examples of Resourcing and Grounding, check out other posting dates for descriptions.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
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